Sole Welting

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Quarantanove, Apr 19, 2012.

  1. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    You can use leather conditioner inside your shoes. Just don't over do it. I use it and haven't had any problems with my socks.
     


  2. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I use Lexol on the insides of my shoes.
     


  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    When I was first getting into the Trade, I ran across a number of well known bootmakers who would tell anyone who would listen that they had never had a misfit...never...no ands, ifs, or buts.

    The only way to rationally assess such an obviously bogus statement is to write it off as a blatant lie or realize that such people desperately need a better, clearer definition of fit. One that is objective and not an excuse for self aggrandizement or self-justification.

    I don't know who is talking in that excerpt--the interviewee or the reporter. But the same sorts of absolutes apply...both in the implicit assertion of no gem failures over the last 130 years--the whole GY process is little over 140 years old, and the use of canvas gemming probably only dates to the 1950s (maybe they were extra "early adopters"); or the remarks about the the insole being "encased by the chainstitch of the welt and the lockstitch of the upper."

    To me...as a shoemaker, as someone who has actually done the work--who has gotten his hands dirty and who has a long term and intimate relationship with both the materials and the techniques...that last statement sounds like gobbledy-gook to me--the "bogus" flags are raised. It's nonsensical. The words are right, they just don't relate to anything real. It sounds like something you would hear from a politician trying to avoid a straight answer or from someone who doesn't really understand what he's talking about.

    What "lockstitch of the upper" is being referenced? Where does it come from? How is it connected to the gemming or the inseam? Or the insole?

    The welt is not part of the upper. Never has been. In the Trade we have "upper men" and "bottom men." This is particularly true in the UK with their system of outworkers--the two are almost never the same person.

    The upper man cannot attach the welt...that has to be done by the bottom man. So "lockstitch of the upper" becomes meaningless--misdirection, sophistry. The only lockstitch on the upper is the sewing that holds the components together.

    And what is the definition of "failure" that is being referenced? Is it the gemming coming loose an inch at a time or all at once...massively? For me, even two or three inches of loose gemming (as in the photo of the Northampton shoe I posted) is failure. But then my standard of failure may be a bit more stringent than people who have a business, cash flow, or justifications to protect.

    We've all seen, and many have experienced, the erroneous, spurious, seemingly disconnected information that can come from individuals who are supposedly speaking for a company or someone else, but who, in fact, have no idea of the realities. The recent Blake vs Blake-Rapid / bonwelt discussion, is a prime example.

    I suspect the interviewee was a floor manager--someone who didn't do the work himself. Quite obviously, he wasn't familiar enough with the way a shoe is put together to even get his explanation correct.

    That, or the reporter changed the remarks to suit himself. Been there, done that...bought the T-shirt. I've been interviewed so many times I can't help but sympathize. Just as here, reporters notoriously don't listen, don't read, and don't extend the same kind of respect to others that they themselves demand. I've had quotes attributed to me that didn't even come close to what I was thinking much less uttering. And many, many more that were "interpreted" and misconstrued.

    In either case, no one is taking responsibility for the veracity of the remarks. No one has to--not the reporter, not the person being interviewed, not the publisher of the story, not even the guy who...perhaps in all earnestness....posted the excerpt here on SF.

    I have a friend...a very good friend who, because he is a friend, I cannot involve in these discussions...who actually owns and operates a Goodyear bootmaking factory on the East Coast.

    He has told me that gemming...which comes on large pre-cemented rolls...has to be fresh. There is a shelf-life, IOW. If the rolls are somewhat old, the cement will not adhere properly even when heat activated and even when applied to the fresh cement on the insole. Those gemming strips will fail during lasting and must be replaced just to get the boot to the point where it can be inseamed.

    I only mention this for those who can objectively look at the facts and add 2+2 and not arrive at 5. To whit:

    If the cement can get old on the gemming to the point where it will not hold...it can get old in the shoe.

    --
     
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2014


  4. MoneyWellSpent

    MoneyWellSpent Senior member

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    I read the same type of nonsensical language that DW describes when I read the article. The person's reasoning for why the gemming won't fail doesn't make sense, or support the claim, and I'm not even a shoemaker, I just enjoy studying shoe construction.

    Whether the claim that they've never had failure is true or not, the reason he gives for why it won't happen isn't logical. It reminds me of the old days in school when you had to show your work on your math problems. Even if you arrived at the correct answer, but your work didn't make sense, you lost points (or worse, you were accused of cheating).

    Also, the statement that they've never had a pair of shoes returned due to rib failure doesn't really negate any of the past conversations on this topic. It has been concluded that even if your shoe does experience gemming failure, the wearer isn't necessarily likely to ever realize it as long as they send it back to the factory for recrafting. The recrafting department will silently put the shoe back on it's original last and re-glue any separated gemming during the repair without ever saying anything. This isn't medicine, where you can request your medical records and find out what's wrong with you after the doctor visit, or even a car mechanic where they itemize the repairs for you. They just repair the shoes and send them back.

    However, if you send your shoes with some hidden gemming failure to a local cobbler who doesn't know what he's doing, you may have a very different end result.

    It's also worth noting that gemming damage can happen both inside and outside the factory. We've discussed the outside the factory possibilities ad nauseam. But what about the inside the factory damage during repairs? When they remove the old sole and scrape out the old cork, they are using a blunt instrument (like a large flat-head screw driver or blunt chisel) with a good bit of force. This scraping commonly damages the gemming, and they just go about regluing it in normal fashion.

    I just don't think the factories take any notice of small areas of gemming separation, and as such, they don't classify it as "failure."
     


  5. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Yes. Blake stitched can be done w/ a closed channel. See video below for breast to breast closed channel blake/mckay construction. Don't think closed channel and stitch aloft has anything to do with how outsole is attached to the midsole/welt/insole/etc.

    [​IMG]
     


  6. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Thats pure bullshit. And they know it.

    Everything will fail; its just a matter of time.
     


  7. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Oh I've seen plenty BS written on the subject, that's for sure.
     


  8. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Very interesting...I've never seen one done like that. It looks good.

    Now I'll have to revise my opinion of Blake and the issue of wicking.

    Thanks for that.
     


  9. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Exactly the method we use at the request of the customer. I bit more time consuming.
     


  10. alexSF

    alexSF Senior member

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    Absolutely,

    My post was simply a report of the obvious factory point of view...open to be commented.
     


  11. thelonius

    thelonius Senior member

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    Thanks to patrick and moneywellspent for the advice. I'll try it.
     


  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Nine times out of ten (maybe ten out of ten), they replace the gemming entirely...as well as the insole...whether it shows signs of failure or not. They're unlikely to take much notice of slippage.

    Gemming is cheap and as mentioned, the cement gets old.

    I've seen high end, solvent based, neoprene, all-purpose cements that had literally turned to dust.
     


  13. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Who manufactures gemming? Can we start buying it up like crazy driving the cost up where it is no longer profitable for these evil-doers to use it?
     


  14. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I prefer shunning...:crackup:
     


  15. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Maybe we can buy it up and make patchwork gemming totes. Fused together, of course.
     


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